Appearances – Essay

Appearances – Essay

Throughout the world, there are many varieties of one’s appearance. The way one looks to another’s eye may cause them to pass judgments. “On Teenagers and Tattoos” by Andres Martin, and “Dreadlocked” by Veronica Chambers, are stories that show examples of the variations of one’s physical presence. Although there are various causes of one’s change in appearance, there are effects that will follow, some more severe than others. There are many causes as to why one chooses to present themselves the way they do, including to be considered an individual, cultural reasons, stability and to fit in with others in society.

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According to Martin, adolescents tend to decorate their bodies to “transform them into personalized bodies”. In some cultures, tattoos may be seen as religious, and people get them not just to represent who they are, but what they are as well. Although tattoos are “personal and beautifying statements”, as Martin writes, effects come along as well. One important consequence for one to think about when tattooing are infections and diseases. These are common among people in society that tend to make permanent decisions based upon bad decisions and mistakes.

Other effects of tattoos include discrimination and stereotypes, as most of society judges one based on the way they represent themselves. Piercings, unlike tattoos, aren’t always permanent, but the causes and effects are similar. One may decide to pierce their body based on peer pressure and bad influences. According to Martin, “piercings are not at all rare among adolescents, and are seen as a fashion statement, as well as serving as adjuncts to the defining and sculpting of the self”.

They can offer a concrete resolution for identity crises one may have. They are a unique way of defining one’s personality, and can let others know more about the person they are, not just on the outside, but the inside as well. Just like tattoos, infections and diseases are common among piercings. In “Dreadlocked”, Chambers writes about the stereotypes based on hair. She tells the reader what people in society thought of her when she made the decision to twist her hair into dreadlocks. Her story is a prime example of what appearances do to a person.

Stereotypes and discrimination were common to Chambers, as people called her names such as rebel child, drug dealer, and Rasta Mama. The reason one may decide to make an enormous change in their appearance can include the tendency to fit in, based on culture, or like Veronica Chambers, a break up. Although tattoos, piercings, and hairstyles, like dreadlocks, may not always be permanent, the way it makes others think of one could be. The causes of one’s presence have great effects on one’s life.

Martin illustrates to the reader that a decision such as tattoos and piercings have long-term consequences that may or may not be permanent. Chambers allows the reader to understand what one may go through all based on something as little as hair. Appearances are important in society because no matter where you are or what you look like, there are always individuals that will critique you based upon them, and the effects of being judged are just as serious as the effects caused by such things as tattoos, piercings, and hairstyles.


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